Forbes.com, June 18 2019
Serena Oppenheim, Contributor
With a fast-growing awareness about nutrition and our own health, it is not surprising that the next wave of wellness companies are not focused on humans, but on pets.
In terms of money spent on pets, the U.S. is by far the world leader with the U.K. a distant second. According to a recent Mintel Report, 95% of US pet owners consider their animals to be part of their family and nearly half of pet "parents" are as concerned about the health and wellbeing of their pet as they are a member of their human family (backed up by the fact that 44% of millennials see pets as their "starter children").
However, similar to the obesity epidemic among humans, 56% of dogs are estimated to be overweight or obese in the U.S. There has been a 911% increase in diabetes in cats and dogs since 2011. In addition, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs - 1 in 3 dogs will develop cancer, which is the same incidence of cancer among men.
The pet industry in the U.S. as a whole is estimated to be worth $72 billion and 2018 figures suggest that $29.88 billion of that comes directly from pet food. Unlike with human food, however, the pet food industry is highly unregulated. Every year sees dozens of recalls. To date in 2019 there have been seven public pet food recalls and in 2018 there were nearly 50. Reasons have ranged from salmonella to euthanasia drugs being found even in some major pet food brands. In addition, many people don’t realize that some brands of pet food can actually be made up of animals who are diseased, dying, disabled, or dead.